To the editor:
I enjoyed the essay “Dignity of mentally ill should be upheld” by Father Richard Gill, L.C. in the October issue of the Catholic Courier.In speaking of mental illness we should acknowledge that our society would be vastly different were it not for the great contributions of individuals who were labeled as mentally ill.
Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Queen Elizabeth, George Patton, Normal Rockwell all suffered from depression or manic depression. The list of famous people who have experienced mental illness can go on and on. More people and references can be found in an article entitled “We would be in the dark ages if it were not for depressives and bipolars” at geocities.com/focusandcontrol/.
Did these individuals do great things despite of or because of their mental illness? Some would argue that mental illness may open up extra parts of our brain to use. It is often said that there is a fine line between madness and genius. Perhaps, the obsessiveness in some mentally ill people drives them to change the world. Top expert on bipolar depression Dr. Kay Redfield Jameson has written about the inspiration that grows out of the mania of bipolar depression.